Monday, July 19, 2010

Earthbox Update - Week Fourteen: Zucchini Sex

This urban gardener's trials and tribs continue.

The latest problem according to my google search, is that the damn zucchini plants aren't pollinating. This could be due to the disappearing bee population issue or many other potential problems. But the bottom line is that flower pollination ain't happenin'.

In layman's terms: there's no zuc nookie. Which means...wait for it...I have to HELP them pollinate. Yes, you read that right. I have to help my zucchini have sex.

Initial thought: This is WAY TOO WEIRD.

Second thought: But I'm three months into the growing season...I've already come so far...and I really do love zucchini. I've already imagined what I'll cook with them (my fav recipe is fusilli alla zucchini, which I'll share when/if I ever get to harvest any).

Third thought: Well...maybe it isn't that weird if I read about it on Yahoo answers...

So what's actually involved? Well apparently, when the male opens for its 24 fleeting hours of fertility, I have to peel back the petals (and apparently the males are the ones with yellow cottonball-looking balls inside) and then thrust their pollen balls into 3 female flowers at most. The females are the ones with the little zucchinis behind the flowers. (Apparently, if you're a male zucchini flower you can't be more promiscuous than this. You are limited to three pollinations with three separate female flowers, then it's curtains for you).

Then I'd have to repeat this process with other flowers.

Final reaction: EW. EW. EWWWWWWW.

Wow. Has it really come to this? Am I a zucchini pimp? OMG - Am I a zucchini hooker?!?

I honestly might rather rip them out and plant something else before I do that...but then is almost August...and I've put so much work into them.

After much deliberation, I finally came to grips with my role as zucchini fertility specialist, which is really just a nicer title for zucchini sex aide. I decided to give it a try. So I waited...and I waited...and I'm still waiting. I'm waiting for a male flower to open at the same time that there are available females to pollinate. And that's where this whole process really stalled. Because by the time one of the few males opened his petals (for his 24-hour window of fertility, ready for possible action with 3 female flowers), guess what? Yep, all the females had closed their flowers and started to shut down their budding babies.

The males and females can't seem to be in the mood at the same time.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Other than my reproduction-challenged zucchini, the garden's growing great guns. Tomatoes, peppers, and herbs are DEFINITELY the way to go next year. Forget these high-maintenance squash!

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